GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Highway 49 is always busy. One piece of property is not so busy, at least until now. By the end of next year, a Walmart Neighborhood Market will be up and running.
Mark Cumbest is the realtor who brokered the deal between the landowners and the giant retailer.
"It's just a sign of growth after this many years after Hurricane Katrina that we're seeing continued development, and it's great to see," Cumbest said.
Next door at the Farm Bureau office, workers there are just as pleased. One of them is Kara Shaw.
"I think it's a great idea. It will be easy to walk to for lunch, and they'll have food that we can buy right next door. We don't have to cross Highway 49," Shaw explained.
Also next door is a car wash. Shawn Turner spends the morning sprucing up his ride. He likes the neighborhood market plans for another reason.
"I know it will open up a lot of jobs for a lot of people, you know what I mean, due to the job shortage around here, so that would be a good idea," Turner said.
Gerald Smith was cutting his lawn. He lives right across the street from the property. The new store won't bother him though.
"It builds up the economy and so forth. It will take care of everything. It's good," Smith said.
In addition to the neighborhood market itself, there is also an added benefit. Only about two thirds of the property will be used by Walmart, leaving about one third of the 11 acre property. That could mean something else moving in sometime in the future, according to Cumbest.
"You will see other businesses, perhaps some financial institutions, possibly restaurants and different types of things on the out parcels," said Cumbest.
Definitely, growth and change are coming to this neighborhood.
Land clearing on the site could begin as early as next week. It will take about a year to build the neighborhood market. The store will be 43,000 square feet in size and employ about 90 people.